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Here we are at the end of another year. For me, this year went very fast and very slow at the same time. It was definitely one of the most challenging one of my 64 years. There was a point, a low point, when I didn’t really know if I would live to see this day. I am eternally grateful that I did.

Looking back, I know that this whole year is filled with cancerous tumors and despair, as well as renewed resolve and strength and hope. I was diagnosed in March, but I know it had already started way before. Between March and July, the person looking at me in the mirror did not resemble me, neither in looks nor in feelings. I was like a skeleton, having lost 25 pounds. I was bald. I was so weak that I needed to sit down to shower. The hardest part was the feeling that I had lost myself, and not knowing if I could find me again.

After my third round of chemotherapy, I started to feel stronger again. I started driving and walking the half mile to the pharmacy even if I had to stop half way to catch my breath. Hope that I was on my way back to life started spreading inside me, as well as gratitude for it. I started gaining weight and other than baldness, I was becoming me once more.

Baldness is difficult to accept. I remember how sad and angry my mother was when she lost her hair to chemo. It may have contributed to her giving up the fight and succumbing to cancer. I was not going to give up. Each time I caught a glimpse of my bald self in the mirror, I forced a smile to out maneuver the woes that were waiting in the wings. Eventually, smiles came easier followed by acceptance and love.

Before cancer, I was a daily walker as well as a Pilates devotee. My oncologist acknowledged that my previously strong body was one of the reasons why I was able to bounce back so well. Even though I didn’t have the strength to do either during the worst months, even a half mile walk was enough encouragement to get me back to exercising and finding me.

Now, within a short few months, I am almost back to “normal”. I say almost, because there may still be cancer in my body. Different tests produce conflicting results. But, I know what cancer feels like, and I don’t feel like I have cancer. I have hope that I am done with it.

Best of all, I am ending the year on a VERY high note. Next week, I am going to Greece to celebrate my youngest daughter’s wedding. I will have all my loved ones with me to ring in the New Year with good health, hope and a whole lot of love.

I wish the same for you. May your New Year bring good health, hope and a whole lot of love.

Yasemin

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